Things we think of while riding down the road

Archive for August, 2008

Interesting way to go

A couple of years ago I ran into a friend on the way home from a weekend ride. Heading home, Heather and I opted for the San Marcos Pass route versus the coast.

A stop at the Cold Springs Tavern is mandatory. Lot’s of motorcycles…mostly the Harley crowd, but a few sportbikes thrown in for flavor. My old friend Matt is the bartender and it’s always good to see him…and by the way…he limits me to ONE ‘light’ beer. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to listen to Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan…two of the most talented and entertaining musicians you’ll ever hear. It’s a great Sunday ride destination. This day turned out a little different.

While enjoying my ‘one’ light beer, checking out motorcycles and enjoying an afternoon in the mountains, the master of high performance exhaust systems for cars, my friend John Wayne taps me on the shoulder. John is a great man. Hot Rodder, biker, terrific dad and friend.

As we were talking about his new bike, a Road King, a group gathered around a bike in the middle of the road. Whats the crowd about? John explained to me what was going on. A riding friend of theirs had passed away recently from cancer. His family had him cremated as per his wishes.Some people put a fancy urn on the mantle, some spread the ashes on the ocean or out in the garden. But what to do with this mans ashes?

This group of riding friends figured it out. Spread his ashes at the places he liked to ride to. They spent the day riding to their compatriot’s favorite destinations to spread his ashes and spirit.

Now…here is the interesting part. At each stop a friend would take a handful of ashes, stand behind another friend on his motorcycle..the rider would rev the engine and spread the ashes with the exhaust blast. All there would cheer, celebrate his life and then ride to the next ‘resting place’.

The most interesting funeral, or in this case, celebration of someones life I have ever been to. I don’t know the man, I don’t even know his name, but I know he was loved by many. We should all be so lucky.

Ride safe, ride fast, ride far and have good friends.
I’ll see you on the road,

Paul


What a long strange trip it’s been…

Thank you Jerry Garcia…

No, I’m not a ‘deadhead’ but as I have mentioned before I have put a lot of miles on a motorcycle. From an old BSA to my little Honda 350, to a Kawasaki H2 750 (evil bike that she was..I still love that motorcycle) to a more civil Honda CB750F, back to a Triumph 500 and the list goes on.

Most trips of late have been on a Yamaha TDM850. An Albatross on two wheels. General traveling, motocamping, semi-offroading..it did it all. And..a lot of it with the beautiful Heather on board and a load of camping gear. Yamaha brought the bike into the U.S for only two years 92/93. It is still available in Europe, even though it’s not quite the ‘Adventure Tourer’ it was back then.

A while back, while cruising the net, I found a really neat site that lets you plot out all the places you have been. www.epgsoft.com Not in great detail but state by state and in Canada.
So, here is where I have been…for the most part….

Ride safe, ride fast and ride far. See you on the road.

Paul


when you love going fast

When you love going fast, you will always love going fast. Sammy Haggar put it perfectly…”I can’t drive 55″. I met Sammy Haggar when I was working for a radio station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a very cool guy.

Another guy I consider a good friend can’t drive 55 either. Meet my friend Kevin Johnson. Willow Springs roadracer extraordinaire, great mechanic and connoisseur of fine Kentucky bourbon. Kevin loves going fast and he loves being with people that feel the same way.

Two years ago Kevin and I helped propel a friend to a Land Speed Record at the Bonneville Salt Flats… get this…on a 1959 Norton.

So what is Kevin doing nowadays?? Building vehicles that go really, really fast. Look at these pictures. When Kevin sent these to me they were titled “what I did on my summer vacation”

A couple of weeks from now are the ‘Bub Motorcycle Speed Trials’ at Bonneville, Utah. Kevin and I planned on being there with our friend Ken Canaga of Left Coast Racing working on a Norton Streamliner to go over 200MPH. A couple of things came up and plans changed. Kevin is going to be racing a Gilera 500CC single at Miller Motorsports Park instead. I envy him.

Like I said, when you love going fast, you love going fast on anything.

Ride safe, ride fast and Kevin…don’t go 55..

Paul


The Sunday Ride


Thirty plus years ago was one of the best evenings of my motorcycling life. I was going to UCLA and down the street the local movie theater was playing Bruce Browns ‘On Any Sunday’. I sat there in the theater and watched the movie twice. At around midnight when I was told to leave, they wouldn’t play the movie again for me…not customer service oriented I guess, I walked out into a drizzly night just wanting to ride my motorcycle. Lucky for me, my 1969 Triumph T100R (Daytona 500) was sitting right there.

I rode all night into Sunday morning. Mulholland Drive to Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard to Pacific Coast Hiway, Tuna Canyon to Stunt Road to Mulholland Hiway and back to the coast. It was a great night. Visions of Steve McQueen, Mert Lawill and Malcolm Smith stuck in my mind. My little Daytona never faltered (remember, it had Lucas electrics??!!) and we had a great time.

After arriving home in time to have a cup of tea with my grandmother, a short nap and a couple of phone calls to riding friends..it was the best of Sunday rides..up Angeles Crest Hiway. Perfect weather, no traffic, no CHP…nothing but a high giggle factor day.

Riding all night into Sunday doesn’t happen so much any longer, but I still ride a Triumph Daytona. The Sunday ride is still the best part of any week.


This one is different


Good Sunday to you all,

I lost another friend yesterday. This one didn’t have two wheels, he had two legs and two hands. Two very talented hands. Most importantly, a BIG, BIG heart.

I have been riding motorcycles since I was fourteen, but I have been surfing since I was ten. My friend Dave had bought a $10 homemade surfboard and we went to Santa Monica and learned to surf. Later down the road, I bought a P.O.S surfboard and continued surfing. Back then I could go from my house to Malibu on a dollars worth of gas…gas was 25 cents a gallon at most!! We even rode the bus to go surfing.

I started in the surf business doing ding repair for a local surf shop in 1968, I ended up working for them for a lot of years until I started my own surf shop in Ventura in 1990. My son and I opened up a second shop a few years later. During that time we competed around the world..well, not we..he. We made a lot of good friends.

Yesterday, one of those good friends passed away of cancer. Midget Smith. Surfboard builder, contest organizer, professional surfing judge, great coach and terrific father. Midget did more for more kids surfing in the San Clemente area than just about anyone. No, he did do more for these kids than anyone. Midget, along with wife Mary Lou, ran the Western Surfing Association, the most competitive series of surfing contests in the country. He taught kids competitiveness, sportsmanship and a few of them the craft of building surfboards. Midget will be missed by a world wide community.

What has this got to with motorcycles, motorcycle racing or motorcycle traveling? Nothing. Nothing at all. Except the things that my friend Midget taught in the surfing world are good in any world. Motorcycle racing too.

Midget is no small man in any way. His influence was and will continue to be HUGE. Good bye my friend…god speed.

Ride safe, ride fast and ride with your heart in the right place

Paul


gettin’ weirder all the time

Good morning all,

I am a fan of Suzuki Superbike pilot Matt Mladin. He is highly skilled, intelligent, outspoken when it comes to rider safety and a really nice man when it comes to talking to fans. All in all a good representative of motorcycling and motorcycle racing.

However, he seems to have pissed off the powers that be in AMA Pro Racing (the DMG). As we have all read, Mr. Mladin was disqualified from last weekends Superbike races at VIR for a possibly illegal crankshaft. HMMMMM.

Matt has been very outspoken regarding the upcoming changes in American roadracing next year. More than just outspoken…critical. American Suzuki/Yoshimura have also been, how do I say this…very displeased with the plans. So unhappy that when DMG head honcho Roger Edmonson came to California to talk to ‘The Big Four’ he made a comment that three out of the four were receptive and one’s behaviour (Suzuki) was unacceptable.

In past Motoworld podcasts, I have spoken with Matt about the changes, he has categorically stated he won’t race 600’s.
So… are we now seeing a ‘pissing war’ between AMA Pro Racing and Suzuki? More pointedly, between AMA Pro Racing and Matt Mladin?

Think about this, in AMA Superbike rules as they currently stand, modifications are pretty minor…Superstock bikes with even less mods are almost as fast as the Superbikes!!?? Team members are pretty much riding the same motorcycle with suspension changes and EFI mapping changes for personal riding styles. Not much else is different. Why was Matt singled out? Shouldn’t AMA Pro Racing have pulled ALL the Yoshimura bikes? They have been more than dominant the past seasons, everyone else racing for maybe third and with Tommy Hayden healthy, probably fourth.

As the old saying goes ‘somethings rotten in Denmark’ or in this case, Florida


It takes balls

Good afternoon all,

Up until a while back, this time of year I would be preparing for the annual ‘3 Flags Classic’ ride put on by the SCMA. It’s a great trip. Somewhere in Mexico to somewhere in Canada in 3 1/2 days on mostly secondary roads. I made new friends, saw new places and got to know myself a bit better. Time inside your helmet does that to one on a long ride.

One particular ‘3 Flags’ ride I came upon this sign. I was laughing so hard I almost rode off the road. Only in the farthest of places in the mountains will this happen. Apparently it’s a big event. Too bad it had already happened, it would have been worth the delay to participate.

Maybe the ‘Testicle Festival’ is a worthy destination for my next big trip? I’ll see if I can convince the wife. I can pretend to be surprised on the way to Glacier National Park or to the Beartooth Pass. What do you think the odds are? Slim and none? Me too.

Ride safe, ride fast and ride far

Paul